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Weekend Warm-up: Would you have accepted a release clause for Erling Haaland to bring him to Bayern Munich?; Talking House of the Dragon and Rings of Power; Bundesliga predictions; Throwing it back to Tears for Fears; and MORE!

Here we go...Bayern Munich has Hoffenheim and FC Barcelona coming up. Are you ready?

Liverpool FC v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

When it was reported that Bayern Munich was a serious contender for Erling Haaland last summer, most people came to the conclusion that Manchester City’s financial package was just too robust for the Bavarians to compete with.

Aside of the release clause that had to be paid to Borussia Dortmund, any club signing Haaland would also have to pay the Norwegian a massive salary to compete with Pep Guardiola’s club.

There was, however, one more factor that played a role in Bayern Munich’s decision to not get more serious about inking Haaland: A release clause.

As part of the discussions with Haaland, Bayern Munich learned that Haaland’s management team were insistent that a release clause be included in any new contract. One of the differences in the packages that each club could offer between Bayern Munich and Manchester City was the fact that the Premier League power was willing to include an exit clause:

Haaland, of course, has become the sensation that has transcended the “Farmers League” from which he came. He is a phenomenon and proving every single stereotype about him wrong.

Of course, that newfound attention has already led to reports that Real Madrid is more than willing to pay the rumored €150-€200 million that it will take to trigger an exit in 2024 when it becomes active for non-Premier League teams.

Knowing what you know now, would you have sucked it up, given Haaland the release clause, and just hoped for the best for a few years?

If you are a sap like me, you probably would have. With his contract ending in 2027, it seems like the summer of 2026 might be the next, best, non-release clause time that Bayern Munich could pursue Haaland.

No doubt, the cost will be exorbitant, but there is a very good chance that the Norwegian will still be worth every euro at that point.


If giving Erling Haaland a release clause would have meant he transferred to Bayern Munich, would you have done it?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Yes - You just tell me where to sign!
    (96 votes)
  • 26%
    Yes - I’d take the risk of losing him earlier just to have a couple of season with him leading the attack.
    (98 votes)
  • 44%
    No - It’s too big of a headache and it would be constant speculation about him leaving.
    (165 votes)
  • 3%
    No - He’s overrated anyway.
    (14 votes)
373 votes total Vote Now

Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 2, Episode 16

Another week is headed into the books and Bayern Munich is looking good.

The Bavarians picked up a couple of convincing wins since our last show and there is plenty to talk about regarding why the squad is showing some heart and rounding into form.

Here is what we have on tap for this episode:

  • Why Bayern Munich might be turning the corner and how the squad is melding together.
  • Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC are in pursuit of Bayern transfer target Konrad Laimer.
  • Is Bayern Munich really plotting a January move for Atlético Madrid’s Joao Felix?
  • Ryan Gravenberch is still unhappy.
  • Did Bayern Munich reject a release clause for Erling Haaland?
  • Talking House of the Dragon (it’s been great of late!).

Song of the Week: “Shout” by Tears for Fears

Yup, I was in an 80s kind of mood, so we went with “Shout” by Tears for Fears.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Tears for Fears song in the WWU. We featured “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” back in 2021 (easily my favorite of the Tears for Fears collection), but “Shout” is another very solid 80s tune that really captures that era so well.

Released in November in 1984, I was just a wee lad of eight years of age and this one has stick with me since that point. Enjoy:

Entertainment Rundown

House of the Dragon

To me, the show has completely turned the corner. It went from something I did not want to take to seriously (call it scorn from Game of Thrones) to something I cannot miss. Let’s dig in:

  • “The Green Council” immediately starts with the fall out from the death of King Viserys as there is a lack of a formal announcement so the “Greens” can plot accordingly.
  • Upon learning of the death of King Viserys, the Small Council directly starts plotting their coup. The (mistaken) revelation that Viserys wanted Queen Alicent’s Aegon to be king rather than Princess Rhaenyra’s Aegon (or whoever would really be in the line for’s so tough to know who would really be perceived to be the true heir these days) only further bolstered their resolve to ensure Rhaenyra would not be named Queen (as Viserys initially proclaimed for his line of succession).
  • Aside of the debate on actually killing off their now-rivals, the drama inside the council room was palpable. When Lyman Beesbury objected, Ser Criston Cole slammed his head on the table and killed him. The meeting, however, continued on with the dead body just slumped over.
  • As the plotting went on, Ser Harrold Westerling resigned from his position as Lord Commander of the King’s Guard and there was a bit of a plot hole as he was allowed to leave after being privy to a the coup plans.
  • The race to find Aegon, who was hiding, was fascinating for a number of reasons. First, Otto Hightower send the twin combo of Arryk and Erryk Cargill (these guys are a George R.R. Martin special), while Queen Alicent sends off Ser Criston Cole and Aemond to find Aegon. Of course, there is conflict.
  • The interaction between the twins was fascinating. While one clearly tried to convince the other that Aegon was inept and just an overall bad person, the other is solely focused on his duty. I cannot tell them apart to save my life.
  • The revelation that Aegon frequented child fighting pits was surely meant to show the audience that Aegon is a true deviant (because his jack attack out the window as a boy was not enough evidence), seeing that he has at least one bastard who is set to be fighting in the pits shows he is heartless, careless, and without any scruples whatsoever.
  • Similarly, the jaunt for Ser Criston Cole and Aemond follows the same pattern, revealing how Aegon is completely unfit to do anything, let alone be the king.
  • Eventually, Otto Hightower negotiates with the White Worm (Prince Daemon’s old mistress) and implies he will shut down the child fighting rings if the White Worm’s info can lead him to Aegon.
  • Aegon was found hiding (from his responsibility) in a sept. He clearly did not want the duty of being king. He appeared meek and feeble and completely unwilling and unworthy of being king.
  • Finding Aegon, however, did lead to a decent little scrap between Arryk/Erryk Cargill and Ser Criston Cole/Aemond. Eventually, Aemon and Ser Criston secured Aegon and brought him back to Queen Alicent, whose primary goal was to prevent Aegon from ordering the death of Team Rhaenyra (against Otto Hightower’s wishes).
  • I am still unclear on what Otto Hightower’s real wishes are...the good of the realm or having his bloodline on the throne? I can guess, but it definitely goes back-and-forth because you can see both sides of where he might fall.
  • One piece of character development I missed: How did Aegon go from a cocksure, yet pervy, fighter to a complete...wuss? I guess the implication is that his life of drinking, carousing, and other perversions has led him to a state where he no longer has any intimidating qualities. Those seem to have all went to Aaemond, who was meek and passive when he was younger.
  • Overall, what an episode. The season finale promises to be terrific. I am glad I got over my Game of Thrones scorn and gave this show a chance.

The Walking Dead

This episode was slightly better than recent releases, but it was still not great. The show has morphed into it’s title.

As always, I handed it over to zippy for Rings of Power.

Rings of Power

The season finale! I was not prepared to love it as much as I did. There were many episodes that fell flat this season, but boy did they stick the landing. Gorgeous shots, superb acting, good camera work, even the dialogue in this one. Most importantly, they nailed the main beats, in review.

Onto the spoilers:

  • It’s time to resolve the mysteries of the season. The episode has twin tracks: first, the three mystics ensnare the Stranger. Second, Galadriel arrives in Eregion to get Halbrand healed.
  • The mystics pull a neat shape-shifting stunt that is fun to watch. They worship the Stranger as Sauron, telling him a veil has been placed upon him and that they’ll take him East, to Rhûn, to restore his memories and powers.
  • Meanwhile, Halbrand is healed up and gets in Celebrimbor’s ear. The Elves only have one nugget of mithril, and Celebrimbor is at a loss of how to make the most of it. Halbrand offers some tips — “an intriguing suggestion,” Celebrimbor says. “Call it a gift,” he replies, eyes glinting — which, ahead of the in-show reveal, is full confirmation to the audience about who he is. (In lore, Sauron arrives in Lindon calling himself Annatar, lord of gifts).
  • The Elves debate, and Gil-galad is skeptical. Celebrimbor appeals and borrows some phrases last heard by Galadriel coming from Adar, which sets off every kind of alarm bell to her. She asks him if he’d been talking to Halbrand, and Celebrimbor denies it vaguely — seeming totally disoriented and not himself. For me, a great illustration of Sauron’s power at work.
  • Back in Greenwood, the Harfoots catch up to the Stranger and Nori cuts him free. He tells her to get away, on account of who he really is — and she tells him that it’ll be his choice who to be. He confronts the mystics.
  • “From shadow you came, to shadow I bid you return!” he cries. In their last moments, they realize their miscalculation. “He’s not Sauron!” (Oops). “No, he’s the other — the Istar — he’s —”
  • “I’m good!” the Stranger declares, echoing Nori’s first attempts to teach him English. Well done.
  • Then remains Galadriel’s confrontation with Halbrand. She throws down a scroll of the Southland kings’ lineage at his feet. “The last king died a thousand years ago,” she says accusingly. “He had no heir.” And now the mask drops. Halbrand pauses, sniffs, and finally reveals himself. “Told you I found it on a dead man.”
  • She staggers back, unable to quite believe. He corrects her misunderstandings. She saved him back on the raft, she convinced him to leave Númenor, and they’d ridden together against Adar, who was both their enemies. “Tell me your name,” she demands shakily. He replies with a nice nod to the lore, and it’s also some fantastic camera work and acting that goes into capturing his unveiling — “I have been awake since before the breaking of the first silence. In that time, I have had many names.”
  • The sequence that follows is something I am eager to rewatch. Galadriel tries to stab him, and he sends her into a dream realm instead, where he attempts to recruit her to his cause. He speaks of Morgoth’s fall — a tear dropping from one eye — and how it led to his supposed repentance. Sauron seems to truly believe he’s on the right path now, but he’s so twisted up inside that it seems inevitable to lead down a dark path anyway.
  • “And me, your queen?” Galadriel asks. “You bind me to the light,” he offers. “I bind you to power.” I think this reflects Tolkien pretty faithfully, if not the literal timeline (which would have been absurd in a show format). Sauron may be trying to do ‘good’ now, but cheap penance is worth nothing in Tolkien’s world. He doesn’t get to decide himself how to right his past wrongs without truly answering to those he’d hurt.
  • Galadriel, of course, rejects him and passes her first test, and Sauron descends into a fury. He leaves (and well, simply walks into Mordor) while Galadriel returns to actually do what he suggests — let Celebrimbor’s work continue.
  • With one key modification: instead of two rings, they make three at her suggestion. “One corrupts, two divides; with three, there is balance.” Thus came to being the three Elven rings, unsullied by Sauron’s hand.
  • So, yeah. I loved this episode. One character — thought to be Sauron, but choosing to be good. Another — thought to be a savior, but actually Sauron, who thinks himself good but being far from it. It’s a very fitting depiction of the origins of Third Age-era Sauron...and the Istar who succeeded in defeating him.

There we have it — season 1 in the books. Hope you’ve enjoyed following along!

Bavarian Podcast Works: Preview Show — Hoffenheim vs. Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich raced past Augsburg in the DFB Pokal after a tough first half; Hoffenheim quite easily beat Schalke as well to progress past the second round. Traditionally, Bayern has not always had it easy against Hoffenheim. So, how will things work out this time? We discuss how the match might play out as well as the following topics in this podcast:

  • Why Hoffenheim’s season has been strange so far.
  • Who are some impressive players for Hoffenheim.
  • A quick look back at Hoffenheim’s results to date including a loss to Werder Bremen.
  • What was most impressive about Bayern’s win over Augsburg.
  • Who some absentees are on both sides.
  • Who might start for Bayern in this game.
  • A look at some past results in this fixture.


Let’s say that Bayern Munich will stay hot and put down a very scrappy fourth-place side from Hoffenheim. Color me surprised with what Hoffenheim has pulled off so far this season, but Bayern Munich might be too tall of a task right now.

Bayern Munich’s offensive flow and pace is much better and despite some defensive hiccups of late, the Bavarians are rounding nicely into form. I think it will very tough for Hoffenheim to match up for Bayern Munich this week, so we should get a lopsided (what do I know, record is awful this season).

Prediction: Hoffenheim 1-4 Bayern Munich

Other Bundesliga predictions include:

  • Mainz 05 1-2 FC Köln
  • FC Augsburg 1-3 RB Leipzig
  • Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Wolfsburg
  • SC Freiburg 2-0 Werder Bremen
  • Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Borussia Dortmund 3-1 VfB Stuttgart
  • VfL Bochum 0-2 Union Berlin
  • Hertha Berlin 2-0 Schalke 04

Champions League

This is a huge match in so many ways. FC Barcelona NEEDS this game, while Bayern Munich is playing with house money. The Bavarians can play it straight, use a lot of subs, or find a happy medium...but will anything short of rolling with your best XI be good enough to hold off a desperate Barca side? Probably not. I think Robert Lewandowski gets a brace and FC Barcelona ekes out a victory.

Prediction: FC Barcelona 3-2 Bayern Munich

Prediction Records

I cannot get a handle on the Bundesliga this all.

  • Last match day’s record: 3-6
  • Overall Bundesliga record: 38-52
  • DFL-Supercup record: 1-0
  • DFB-Pokal record: 2-0
  • Champions League record: 4-0
  • WWU overall record: 45-52
  • Guest predictions: 7-4

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